Okay, so there's been a lot of discussion this week about writing a sequel. I especially liked Angie's assurances that writing book 2 is hard. I appreciated Jeff's list of questions to ask to see if there's sequel potential to a story. Julia reminded us that we can't change horses mid-space ship. Or something like that. ;) And Beth gave some great advice in writing that pesky sequel as fast as possible.
I'm here to say: Go the companion route. It's so much easier. (Ha!)
But seriously, companion novels are almost new novels. You can explore the world you've already created (and it doesn't have to be a dystopian or fantasy world, could just be the way you've set up your high school or whatever) with new people! Shiny new people.
And those shiny new people can have a story of their own. I'm telling you, the companion novel is the way to go about writing your sophomore novel. Because if you think the sophomore slump only happens in college, think again.
I think companion novels that have sequential elements are the best of both worlds. Think THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES as a companion to THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. We get to see the MC from the first book in the second. The story is advanced a little bit more, amidst a new plot and new characters.
Things to think about:
1. Is there room in your world for growth? If so, you could so companion it up. I especially like going to different cities/places in the storyworld in a companion novel. Like, how cool would it be to read a book that takes place in The Capitol--the heart of the storyworld in THE HUNGER GAMES?
2. Can my MC realistically carry a second book? If no, then a companion is for you. You don't need that MC anymore. Sure, they can show up, even be a major player, but they don't have to be the shining star.
3. Have I told the whole story already? Angie sort of touched on this yesterday, but you have to really examine if you've told the whole story. If you have, then a companion novel could work for you.
So what do you think? Would you go the companion route? What are the advantages? The disadvantages?